Mobile Website Design Tips
(Please note that for this article I am using the term “mobile” as a proxy for Smartphone. Tablets should be considered a distinct category, however in terms of both user behaviours and conversion rates they have far more in common with desktop / laptop. As a result, Sellr is designed to always show tablet users the primary website optimized for the screen size of the viewer’s device).
A key finding from Smart Insights report on The State of Digital Marketing 2015, has found that 80% of internet users own a Smartphone. Additionally, Ericssons latest mobility report suggests that global internet traffic from Smartphones is set to increase 8x by 2020. Whilst there is little that is shocking about these statistics, they only need serve as another reminder of the ever growing importance of mobile commerce strategy.
In this post, rather than just highlighting mobile stats that are readily available elsewhere online, I am going to run through some questions you should be asking yourself in order to make the most of this ongoing trend.
1. What will customers use your mobile website for?
To start with the most obvious point, in order to give your customers the best user experience possible it is important to know exactly how they will interact with it. Despite the widespread use of Smartphones for browsing the internet, conversions remain significantly lower than on PC’s / Laptops or tablets. Monetate’s 2014 Ecommerce review found Smartphones converting at between 1 third and 1 quarter of the rate of traditional and tablet devices.
The main reason given for this amongst all age groups is simply due to customers still preferring to complete purchase for most products on a desktop. The evidence suggests that at present consumers prefer to use their mobile internet for researching purchases at times such as on their commute (68%), whilst 39% of Smartphone users in the UK have ever completed a purchase on their device.
These figures will continue to rise as consumer attitudes change and businesses continue to improve their mobile offering. Even in industry sectors where adoption of mobile purchasing has been slow to take up, customers now expect all businesses to cater for mobile technologies and those that don’t run the risk of appearing backwards.
2. Does it serve this purpose?
What we should take from this information, is that the primary focus of our mobile website ought to be making the search and buy functionality as user friendly as possible to allow for easy product browsing and to increase conversion rates.
It is essential that mobile visitors can quickly find the product they are interested in and that the information and images associated with the product are clearly presented.
This means that key points relating to the product such as price, number in stock, number of variations and any special offer, as well as of course the Buy Now button should appear above the fold.
3. What should a mobile website have?
The reason why we typically recommend having a separate mobile website is because in order to fulfil its purpose it will often end up as a rather different entity compared to your primary website.
In terms of content, a mobile site should be stripped of all content that we know isn’t relevant to Smartphone users. One obvious reason for this is to ensure that it loads quickly on all connections, but as importantly, we want to make sure that visitors are not being distracted from making a purchase.
Some features that are strongly encouraged on your main website, such as a blog, social media plug-ins and large images, have no place on a mobile website. Banners should be sales and product focussed, and interrupt screens are a huge no-no as they are even more irritating on a mobile screen than a main website.
4. What should a mobile website look like?
The favoured format for mobile websites typically centre’s on a vertical menu of main product categories which expands as visitors drill down through sub-categories. Whereas having a summary about the business as the first text consumers read on your primary website is often a good idea from a brand building perspective, if this is more than a couple of lines long then it should sit below your product categories.
A search box should be prominent at the top of every page to help repeat visitors to navigate as efficiently as possible.
Whilst the focus of this article has mostly been on functionality, it is important not to neglect the mobile websites visual appeal and its consistency with the main site. Your brand logo should feature on every landing page; however it is important to have an image assigned to every category so that no page on your mobile site is just text.
For consistency you will want the colour scheme and font to match you main site, which is why I would recommend anyone starting a new website to consider how your choices will render on a mobile device.
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